The political world is awaiting Florida Governor Charlie Crist’s press conference, slated for 5:30 today. (Why then? I’d guess to big foot the local evening news.)
It’s widely expected that he’ll announce that he will bolt his state’s Republican primary (and the stiff competition that former state house Speaker Marco Rubio is providing therein) and instead run for the Senate with no party affiliation. Congressman Kendrick Meek, a Democrat, is already in the race, setting up a three way race with three strong candidates—a rare thing indeed in American politics.
In this morning’s Politico Playbook, Mike Allen games out the situation:
Operatives in both parties tell us Republican Marco Rubio is now the favorite in the Florida Senate race, with Gov. Charlie Crist announcing today that he’ll go indy to avoid a shellacking in the Republican primary. The third candidate in the race, which can be won with a slim 35%: Democrat Kendrick Meek.
Huh. Well, yes it can be won with a slim 35 percent. It could also be won with a slim 36 percent or 38 percent.
Of course, in a three way race, the relevant number is just one vote more than one third of the vote, or something like 33.33334 percent. I’m aware that’s a tricky number for news copy, but a simple “34 percent” isn’t, and is more accurate than what Allen wrote.
To take this nitpick one step further, according to the authoritative Ballot Access News, it looks like the Libertarians will have a candidate on the ballot, which as a technical matter, further lowers the minimum-win threshold to one vote more than a quarter of votes cast. Any other candidates qualifying for the November ballot—and it looks like some will at the very least try—would have the same effect.
But enough of that. All this vote-dividing has gotten me thinking that it can’t be long before Hendrik Hertzberg inevitably writes a New Yorker Talk column or blog post pointing out that this race makes an excellent case for implementing instant runoff voting.
I’m starting the CJR countdown clock. Remember: you heard it here first.Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.